I head to Central Texas today (A53 on Southwest; something about maybe seeing an eclipse); statewide Texas home ownership rate is about 64 percent. This is a shade lower than the 66 percent nationwide. (Home ownership & operational challenges facing lenders are a couple of the topics Mike Metz with Arizona’s V.I.P. Mortgage will discuss today at 2PM CT.) And a huge percentage of those homeowners have low fixed rates. People can be “locked-in” or constrained in their ability to make appropriate financial changes, such as being unable to move homes or sell assets due to tax burdens. In the U.S., nearly all 50 million active mortgages have fixed rates, and most have interest rates far below prevailing market rates, creating a disincentive to sell. These frictions, whether institutional, legislative, personal, or market-driven, are a real problem. The FHFA, Fannie & Freddie’s conservator, has a research piece on this since residential real estate exemplifies this challenge with its physical immobility, high transaction costs, and concentrated wealth. (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by Loan Vision. With Loan Vision, the mortgage banking industry’s premier mortgage accounting solution, you can take your accounting department from “cost center” to “revenue generator,” operating more efficiently and profitably. Hear an interview with HireAHelper’s Miranda Marquit on a new study that shows that as Millennials age, they're moving less than ever.)

Customer Relationship Management

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STRATMOR’s Consumer Direct Workshop

The Fed has indicated that it plans to cut rates later in the year, but even though the timing remains unclear, to remain competitive, Consumer Direct lenders will have to stay on their toes and prepare for the effect it will have on mortgage rates. The time to develop a strategy for attracting, nurturing, converting, and closing purchase business to hold or grow your market share is now. STRATMOR Group will host its semiannual virtual Consumer Direct Workshop on May 7, 8 and 9. STRATMOR experts and peer lenders will discuss how to better understand the needs of purchase borrowers, craft marketing messages that will appeal to them, tweak your processes for purchases and train LOs to close this business. Register up to three executives from your organization today.

Events, Training, and Webinars

Lending marketing, sales, and operations leaders! This is what your teams need to hear right now to increase volume and run a more efficient business. Greg Sher, Managing Director, NFM Lending, Steve Majerus, CEO, Synergy One Lending, Brian Vieaux, CEO, Finlocker, and Richard Grieser, VP of Marketing, Truv are going to share strategies and real examples of how you can fill the top of your funnel with a more informed and prepared borrower BEFORE loan application, during the application, and after closing. You’ll also hear firsthand how your technology can work with you to improve the borrower experience, as opposed to against you! Come join us on April 10 at 1 pm CT and invited your teams!

Loan officers are the lifeblood of any successful lender. Lenders who can recruit and retain talented producers will be able to ensure an active pipeline and exceed their revenue goals. Competition and compliance challenges in the current market demand that you set up a scalable recruiting function to target the right talent that aligns with your business. Join Total Expert on Wednesday, April 17 as we sit down with InGenius CEO Jeff Walton to discuss strategies for identifying, engaging, and converting loan officers who are the right fit for your business. Save your digital seat.

(A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “Conference List” for in-person events in the future.)

Today is the next episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”. This Friday’s is co-hosted by VIP’s Mike Metz!

Angel Oak’s Non-QM webinar series will provide information on industry trends, strategies for finding non-QM borrowers, and actionable tips for growing your mortgage origination business. Join the panel of Non-QM experts on Tuesday, April 9th and take a detailed look at innovative solutions for self-employed borrowers, real estate investors, and other underserved borrowers. Non-QM Second Mortgage Options.

Join FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Policy Update Virtual Webinar sessions:

Session I will begin with an overview of the HECM section’s style and structure, followed by origination processing and credit policy. April 10th, 2-4:00 PM (Eastern).

FHA is offering In-Person, Free Underwriting Training in Denver, CO., April 10, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST. Training will provide an overview of FHA underwriting procedures as outlined in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 and addresses several industry-related frequently asked questions (FAQs). This training will also take an in-depth look at a variety of topics including credit, income, and asset (CIA) documentation; manual underwriting; automated underwriting systems (AUS); closing; and more.

FHA is offering In-Person, Free FHA Appraisal Training in Denver, CO., April 10, 1– 4 PM MST. Training will provide an overview of FHA appraisal protocol and updates to FHA appraisal policy as outlined in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1. This training will also take an in-depth look at a variety of appraisal-related topics including property acceptability criteria; minimum property requirements; property defects; appraiser responsibilities and requirements; and more.

Attend ICE’s complimentary webinar to learn all about the world of automated valuation models (AVMs). You’ll find out why AVMs are considered a credible, objective option for collateral risk management, how they can help your business (from lead generation and portfolio management to cost reduction and more), and when to use an AVM to address challenges in the current valuation landscape. The webinar hosted by ICE is “When, Why and How AVMs Drive Business Performance” and will be on Wednesday, April 10, at 2 p.m. ET. Register today.

Looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for "Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PT join Robbie Chrisman and Justin Demola for a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Next Wednesday features Kathy Kraninger, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2018 to 2021, now CEO of the Florida Bankers Association.

Check out National MI’s upcoming April 2024 webinar sessions: Mastering LinkedIn for Mortgage Professionals – Session Four ​​​​​with Brynne Tillman, April 9th at 3pm E.T. P&L and Balance Sheet Analysis for Self-Employed Borrowers ​​​​​with Marianne Collins, April 11th at 1pm E.T. Conquering Call Reluctance for Loan Originators with Rebecca Lorenz, April 16th at 1pm E.T. Navigating Today’s Appraisal Process ​​​​​​​​​​with Luke Tomaszewski, April 18th at 1pm E.T.

Join the MBA of NJ, in partnership with HUD for the 2024 HUD Housing Counseling Session, April 11th, 2-4PM at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY., Keys to Homeownership: Building Strategic Partnerships. Session II will cover policies for underwriting the property, closing, and endorsement requirements. April 11th, 2-4:00 PM ET.

Acquire a greater perspective from industry experts at American Mortgage Conference from April 15 – 17. Held in a new location this year at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront in Georgia. Co-hosted by ABA and the North Carolina Bankers Association, this premier conference is the only mortgage event that blends business and regulation to assure you are fully up to date and fully connected to crucial professional networks. 

Capital Markets

After a quiet opening three days to the trading week, Thursday brought a couple of headlines that put some uncertainty into markets. There were geopolitical headlines pointing to ramping tensions in the Middle East with Iran warning Israel that retaliation was coming soon, and there were Fed headlines from Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari delivering hawkish remarks by saying that interest rate cuts may not be needed this year if progress on fighting inflation stalls, especially if the economy remains robust.

Both headlines triggered a flight to safety, rising bond prices and lowering yields. Traders increasingly see the Fed lagging behind other central banks when it comes to rate cuts. The latest weekly jobless claims report, up 221k for the week, showed a larger than expected number of claims.

Today brings the all-important March payrolls report. Headline payrolls (303) versus 170k expectations and 223k previously. The unemployment rate (3.8 percent) when it was seen ticking down 0.1 percent to 3.8 percent. Average hourly earnings (+.3) versus expectations of increases of 0.3 percent month-over-month and 4.1 percent year-over-year, and 0.1 percent and 4.3 percent in February. Later today brings February consumer credit and more scheduled Fed speakers. After the employment news Agency MBS prices are worse .125-.250 than Thursday’s close and the 10-year yielding 4.39 after closing yesterday at 4.31 percent; the 2-year is up to 4.71.

Jobs and Transitions

Highlands Residential Mortgage is thrilled to announce the hiring of Josh Moody as VP-Production Manager, and his team across various locations in Texas. Josh joins Highlands with an incredible reputation for driving strong production volume over the course of his 20+ year career having closed in excess of a billion dollars in mortgage loans during that time span. He has been recognized amongst the nation’s very best annually by the Scotsman Guide, Mortgage Executive Magazine, and National Mortgage News. Josh brings his extensive experience, innovative strategies, and a track record of success that aligns perfectly with Highlands’ commitment to excellence and our continued expansion efforts across the country. “Josh is a proven leader in our industry and an outstanding addition to our growing team at Highlands.” said, Brian Bennett, President. "I feel the experienced and trustworthy executive team at Highlands will enable us to offer a broader and more comprehensive product suite for our customers and allow our team to adapt rapidly to a constantly shifting mortgage environment," said Josh Moody.

“At Evergreen Home Loans, we recognize the evolving needs of homeowners and strive to equip our Loan Officers with advanced tools and products to meet these demands.

A highlight of our offerings includes our specialized focus on innovative products and debt consolidation solutions, enabling our team to provide comprehensive financial strategies that benefit our clients. Joining Evergreen Home Loans means aligning with a team that values innovation, support, and a deep commitment to making a difference. If you are a Loan Officer or run a Branch looking to elevate your career, we invite you to explore the opportunities at Evergreen Home Loans. Visit our Careers page to learn more about how you can be part of a team that's setting new standards in lending while fostering community growth and resilience.”

Merchants Bank, a financial institution with $16 billion in assets and a top 5 warehouse lender, is seeking a Product Development Manager for its residential mortgage division. This position will play an instrumental role in expanding Merchants’ product offerings across the retail, wholesale, and correspondent channels. The ideal candidate has experience in developing and implementing non-Agency underwriting guidelines with an emphasis on Prime Jumbo and the Private Label Securitization market. Preferred candidates will have knowledge of the non-Agency market in areas such as underwriting guidelines, pricing, rating agency, third party review process, exception handling and credit. The candidate will be a key member of their Capital Markets team and will take the lead on building out their non-Agency prime jumbo product guidelines. This is an excellent opportunity for a self-starter with a committed and financially strong financial institution. For consideration, please send us your resume.”

Ready to scale your builder volume? Planet Home Lending lays the foundation for MLOs’ success with cutting-edge tools, exclusive offerings, and unique products tailored to new home builders and buyers. If your focus is on private builders crafting 20-300 homes annually, seize this opportunity. Reach out to SVP Doug Long at (407) 399-5505 and discover how Planet's innovations can drive your career growth.

AFR Wholesale® is on an exhilarating growth trajectory, and on the lookout for forward thinking Sales and Operations Leaders. Are you a modern mortgage leader with a knack for crafting strategies that turn customers into raving fans and elevate the experience beyond expectations? Then you're exactly who we need to steer our expanding team towards unparalleled success. At AFR, we value leaders who are leveraging technology to battle the complexities of the industry but are also passionate about making homeownership dreams a reality. As an equal opportunity employer, we’re dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. Joining AFR means being part of a dynamic team that’s dedicated to helping families achieve their dream of homeownership. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to be part of AFR’s growth journey and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Want to have a confidential discussion about your career? Email us.”

Cornerstone Home Lending, a division of Cornerstone Capital Bank ("Cornerstone"), announced the appointment of 25-year industry vet Michael A. Iorio as SVP of Strategic Partnerships where he will “spearhead the expansion of Cornerstone's Homebuilder Partnership business across targeted builder accounts nationwide, with a focus on cultivating new relationships and enhancing service offerings.” Congratulations!